Since 2006, the annual workshop for Women in Machine Learning (WiML) has brought together female researchers in industry and academia, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from the machine learning community to exchange research ideas and build mentoring and networking relationships. The one-day workshop has been especially beneficial for junior graduate students, giving them a supportive environment in which to present their research (in many cases, for the first time) and enabling them to meet peers and more senior researchers in the field of machine learning. The networking opportunities provided by the workshop have also helped senior graduate students find jobs following graduation. Intellectual Merit: This workshop will advance machine learning knowledge and foster collaboration within the machine learning community. As invited speakers, established researchers at top universities and research labs will teach workshop participants about cutting-edge ideas from diverse areas of machine learning. Students will present their own research and receive valuable feedback from both senior researchers and their peers. By enabling women at all stages of their careers in machine learning to exchange research ideas and form new relationships, we expect that new connections and research collaborations will be established, thereby advancing the state-of-the-art of the field. Broader Impact: This workshop will provide a forum for female graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior and senior faculty, and industry and government research scientists to exchange research ideas and establish networking and mentoring relationships. Undergraduates, particularly those who are interested in pursuing graduate school or industry positions in machine learning, are also welcome to attend. Bringing together women from different stages of their careers gives established researchers the opportunity to act as mentors, and enables junior women to find female role models working in the field of machine learning. The workshop will also benefit the wider machine learning community: Firstly, the WiML website, which lists all previous workshop presenters, serves as a useful resource for organizations looking for female invited speakers. Secondly, co-locating with a major machine learning conference enhances the visibility of female researchers among the wider machine learning community. Thirdly, travel funding provided to workshop participants also facilitates their travel to the co-located conference, which for some participants would otherwise not be possible. Finally, all workshop materials (slides, abstracts, etc.) will be made available on the workshop website in order to ensure broad dissemination.

Project Report

Due to the low percentage of women in computer science in general and machine learning in particular, many women working in machine learning rarely get the chance to interact with other female researchers. This situation makes it easy for women to feel isolated and difficult for them to find role models. The Women in Machine Learning (WiML) workshop, co-located with the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference, was designed to give female faculty, research scientists, and graduate students in the machine learning community an annual opportunity to meet, exchange ideas, and learn from each other. This grant funded the WiML workshop in 2010--2013 inclusive. Each year, the workshop consisted of technical and non-technical events: * Invited talks by established researchers. Technical talks by junior and senior researchers from both academia and industry highlighted the research aspects of working in machine learning and helped younger researchers to identify role models and collaborators. * Contributed talks and posters by students. These student presentations provided opportunities for graduate students to showcase their own research, while receiving constructive feedback from their peers and more senior researchers. Additionally, these presentations raised the presenters' visibility among their peers. * A career-focused panel discussion. A question-and-answer session with more senior women in both academia and industry provided participants with the opportunity to ask (sometimes sensitive) questions about different career paths, to hear more about the experiences of---and relate to---these researchers, and to learn more about how best to pursue different careers. * Workshop dinner, breakfast, lunch, and breaks. At lunch and dinner, students were encouraged to sit with their mentoring groups, each of which included more senior researchers from industry and academia to facilitate informal interactions. During breakfast and breaks, students and more senior researchers mingled and networked. The grant also provided travel awards for students and postdocs. These travel awards are extremely important. One student wrote in the post-workshop survey: "Without the travel grant it would not have been possible for me to present my poster and participate in this incredible knowledge transfer and a truly inspiring event!" Additionally, co-location of the workshop with the NIPS conference means that the travel awards increase women's participation at NIPS.

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University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles
United States
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